:: Dr. Kazi Ertaza Hassan ::
In response to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s invitation, Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, arrives in Bangladesh on Thursday on a three-day state visit, aiming to promote peace and reconciliation. It is third time visit for the Roman Catholic leaders. But the recent visit is different from the others. In such a situation he visits in Bangladesh; when the country is face various problems centering the Rohingyas issue. Pope Francis in his speech has encouraged the Rohingyas in many ways. He also praised Bangladesh for giving shelter to the Rohingyas.
In his speech in Dhaka yesterday he said that it is imperative that the international community take decisive measures to address this grave crisis, he said preferring to avoid using the word Rohingya. He said the international community should do it by not only by working to resolve the political issues that have led to the mass displacement of people, but also by offering immediate material assistance to Bangladesh in its effort to respond effectively to urgent human needs. None of us can fail to be aware of the gravity of the situation, the immense toll of human suffering involved, and the precarious living conditions of so many of our brothers and sisters, a majority of whom are women and children, crowded in the refugee camps. Pope Francis appreciated Bangladesh stance in providing refuge to tens of thousands of forcibly displaced people saying ‘this has been done at no little sacrifice (and) It has also been done before the eyes of the whole world’.
The spirit of generosity and solidarity which is a distinguishing mark of Bangladeshi society has been seen most vividly in its humanitarian outreach to a massive influx of refugees from Rakhine State, providing them with temporary shelter and the basic necessities of life. But in Myanmar he didn’t say anything about the Rohingyas. Question has been raised centering his Myanmar speech.